Poems & phonics to use and enjoy

On a similar theme to An aging teacher in a modern world: These may help you ensure Mason carves out a career, Tiler gets to the top and Taylor learns to embroider prose, instead of yelling, “It’s a stitch-up!” every time you correct her punctuation. I’m waiting for a Plumber to appear on my register, in case my boiler plays up.

Try some of these phonically graded poems that I’ve written. Just highlight, Ctrl C then Ctrl V to paste them into your own Word document. Many years ago, I wrote or edited a large proportion of the phonic branch of the Oxford Reading Tree – the Woodpeckers branch.

By getting the children to perform the poems, you can get in repetition of the phonic units you are working on, without being tedious. This poem has a strong, bouncy rhythm that it is good to encourage the children to bring out.

A good introduction, or reminder, about rhythm is to use a bit of Hiawatha and get the children to clap the 1,2,3,4 beat that Longfellow uses to imitate war drums. It makes point that poems don’t have to rhyme.

Group performance is good. You can split the text into bold and normal print if you want groups – then underline read together parts. It is good to get pupils to decide for themselves. This poem still works well with able Year 6 readers. Even though the phonics aren’t difficult, they can find the performance and rhythm challenging.

Separating clauses, or picking out key words in bold so that texts that are read for performance are split into short sections, for alternate readers, is a good technique. It helps maintain the volume and clarity that is often lost as pupils lose breath or speed up. I would often do that for assemblies etc – and not just poems, stories and so on. I my post an example of an assembly narration treated in this way in while.

Just as a reinforcement, you can dictate poems, so you can check target spellings in context. I can post a series of phonically graded sentences for this purpose, if colleagues are interested.

My daughter is running a half marathon for motor neuron disease research on 13th March. Any donations gratefully accepted at http://www.justgiving.com/Kate-Franks1

 This first poem reinforces the sounds of triple consonants.

Gym club hubbub


Roll, stroll, shrug and spread.

Sprint, squat, stand on your head.

Straddle, stride, twirl, whirl, whizz.

Don’t shake your rucksack.

You’ll make your pop fizz.


Swinging flasks,

sprinkle, squirt, spray.

You’re wetting the floor!

Put your pop away.


Tumble, rumble, stumble, fall.

Spring back up.

No bumps at all.

Scream on a beam

Screech so shrill.

Get told off,

But it’s still a thrill.


Floor flies up.

Slip, thrash, splat.

Stretch into splits and

Miss the mat.


Didn’t listen.

Throb, strain, sprain.

Strap up your ankle.

Squeal in pain.



This next poem practises double vowel blends eg. oo, ea, ee . It also emphasises split e to modify the vowel sound.

Benny the blenny


A blenny is a small fish that you can find in rock pools at the seaside. You can find them in Britain and many other lands.


Benny the blenny

Lives down by the beach.

He swims between seaweed

To keep out of reach.


He dives into shadows

He hides by the shade.

His home is a rock pool

The sea tides have made.


He battles with crabs.

If they nip him, he fights.

He shrugs at the shrimps,

Till they’re close, then he bites.


I don’t know if blennies

Sleep when it’s dark.

If they do, I bet Benny

Will dream he’s a shark.


This one works well if you want to discuss and illustrate the difference between long and short vowel sounds and the role of y as a half vowel as well as a consonant.

In verse one, the first letter is lower case and given it’s sound. In verse 2, it is shown in upper case to indicate that you use it’s name – long vowel sound.


Howl for a vowel


a is for apples, didn’t you know?

e for electric, eggs and elbow.

i for an igloo a home that will freeze,

o is an octopus under the seas.

u an umbrella, a tent on a stick.

Here comes the rain. Put it up quick!


A is an apricot, like a peach that is small

E is an emu, a bird that is tall.

I an ice-cream, a sweet made from ice

O is an ogre, a giant – not nice!

U is a unicorn, a horse with a horn

But why is Y waiting and looking forlorn?




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